Modelling Elections in the Caucasus
42 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2011
Date Written: October 3, 2011
This paper constructs formal stochastic models of the elections in Georgia in 2008 and in Azerbaijan in 2010. The models include various kinds of valence, where valence is defined to be associated with the non policy considerations involving the electoral perceptions of party leaders. Valences can be (i) exogenous, held by all members of the electorate, giving an estimate of the perceived "quality" of the political leaders, and empirically estimated by the intercepts in a spatial model; (ii) sociodemographic, associated with the various propensities of subgroups in the polity to choose one candidate over another.
We consider logit models of electoral choice, involving these valences, as well as spatial components derived from policy differences between voters' and candidates' positions. We compute the "equilibrium" vote maximizing positions of the candidates or parties in the two elections and show that these involved divergence from the electoral center.
We argue that oppositional candidates faced different political quandaries in the two countries. In Georgia the opposition candidates had low valences and were associated with relatively non centrist policy positions. In Azerbaijan the survey we used indicates that there was a degree of political apathy, due to the perception that the election would not be democratic. This made it difficult for opposition candidates to offer credible political competition to the dominant party of the president.
Keywords: valence, local equilibria
JEL Classification: H10
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